Recruitment Vs Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition has been defined as “a strategic approach to identifying, attracting and onboarding top talent to efficiently and effectively meet dynamic business needs.”  Very fancy, for me, simply put, this is a true indication that the effective practice of TA affects the bottom line of the business you work within.

When “Talent Acquisition” is mentioned, many think,  “Recruitment”, I believe they are as similar as saying “Finance” and “doing sums” or “Communications” and “sending emails” – there are gulfs between them! They are separate practices which have an entirely different skill-set & crucially, mind-set.  The analogy that I use the most often is that, it’s like Rugby & Football….both played on grass, but with different shaped balls, goals, rules, fans & critically, a different set of tactics.

Recruitment is part of Talent Acquisition, a key part but one that, in rapidly evolving times & a candidate driven market come second. I firmly believe that doing the basics well are the foundation for success, so, do the recruitment basics well, you can then build TA on top of it.

Let’s look at “Recruitment” in more detail first. Recruitment for me has the standard activities we all know well, such as sourcing (which predominantly means using a job board for 2-4 weeks & specifying a specific geographical area), screening (whoever applies), interviewing (the best from who applies), assessing (the best of who applies), selecting and hiring (again…of the people who applied to a role that was advertised for 14 days!). What if the best candidate was on holiday for the two weeks your role was advertised for, what if they don’t search the specific job-boards you use etc etc etc

I’m sure you can see the major failings with that approach…If not, go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect £200! I am not saying that you never get a good hire by this approach, you do, but it is incredibly restrictive. Look at it like buying a house, do you do that by walking down a street & looking in 1 window of an estate agent, every day for two weeks? NO! You use the web, apps, read reviews, ask for help etc etc

Talent Acquisition includes recruiting, of course it does, but it goes further than this, these basics are built on to complete an entirely different proposition.

Strategy – understand your business, needs, pressures, ensure business alignment, examine / create workforce plans, understand the total addressable market, it is truly a global set of considerations.

Employment Branding / Employee Value Proposition – There have been a significant increase in roles specialising in this & also the investment in this by major companies. Why? Effective branding & market positioning attracts talent, simple. In TA we successfully uncover, articulate and define a company’s image, organisational culture, its USP’s. Employment branding can help you depict what it is truly like to work for that organization, from the people who matter, the employees.

Know your Audience – necessitates defining and understanding the audiences in which an organisation needs to source for specific roles. Different sourcing strategies should be applied based on the understanding of the jobs and where the audiences will come from to fill them.

Candidate Relationship Management – includes building a positive candidate experience, managing candidate communities, and maintaining relationships for those candidates not selected. Crucially here is the process of onboarding, if you have successfully navigated the process to land true talent…the conversation does not stop when the offer is accepted, this is in essence the most crucial part of the conversation. Ever bought a car or a house? Did you stop speaking to the company you bought it from when the payment cleared? I bought both in the last 18 months, in sales I am sure they call it aftercare or post-sales, but they do it, consistently & (in my experience) well. So, if buying a house & changing jobs are two major life events, why do it for one & not the other?

Data – without this, we are nothing, really is a simple as that! The more we know, the better placed we are to have detailed, well informed conversations with reward, with talent, with hiring managers & social media teams.

There is more emphasis on this than ever before, the days of tracking time & cost to hire are long gone, these are still fundamental, but in the world we operate in, we want to know gender splits, sources, and not just collate data but you it, making informed decisions that add value to our overall proposition. This can be as simple as job board performance right down to when is the best time to advertise a certain role, to ignore the importance & impact of using your data correctly is a massive oversight, one that ensure your progression to true Talent Acquisition is significantly hindered.

Within each of these core elements of TA are many other sub-activities and best practices, in truth the role is much bigger than most people give it credit for, but simply put, it affects the bottom line of the company you operate within.

The next few years in TA are going to be incredibly exciting, but regardless of the newest app, the newest piece of functionality on a platform, our candidates should be at the heart of everything we do, always!

Source from Euan McNair Creating our global talent brand at Standard Life & Standard Life Investments.

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